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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

EXAMINATION  OF MOTIVATED  BODIES  OR FRAGMENTS                        73

in Lancaster on the 15th September 1935, and were never again seen alive. Photographs
were taken of the skulls and super-imposed on those of the heads of Mrs. Ruxton and
Miss Rogerson and were found to tally in every respect. Casts made of the reconstructed
left feet of both the bodies fitted perfectly shoes belonging to Mrs. Ruxton and Miss
Rogerson.

The police searched the house of Dr. Ruxton and found numerous stains of human
blood in the bath room, on the bannister, stair rails, stair carpets, pads, surgical towel,
and a suit of clothes belonging to him. The police subsequently arrested Dr. Ruxton,
who. was charged with having wilfully murdered Mrs. Isabella Ruxton and Miss Mary
Rogerson. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death.12

The Baptist Church Cellar Murder.—On July 17, 1942, a gang of demolition workers
who were sent to clear out the damaged premises at 302, Kennington Lane, discovered
remains of a body covered with lime and buried under the floor of a cellar at the rear
of a Baptist Chapel. The remains consisted of a head being loose and the trunk with
parts of the arms and legs missing. The body had been dismembered after death by
someone without particular skill and knowledge of the parts. The head was decapi-
tated through the ]oints between the upper end of the spine and the base of the skull.
In order to conceal identity efforts had" been made to destroy tissues by fire. Thus,
the scalp and hair, face, eyes, lower jaw, hands and feet were missing. There were
signs of burning on the head, down the left side of the trunk, and at the level of each
knee. Owing to the sprinkling of slaked lime the uterus and soft tissues especially of
the neck were well preserved though they were dry. The remains were removed to the
Department of Forensic Medicine at Guy's Hospital, where after cleaning and re-
assembling the parts Dr. Keith Simpson was able to determine the following points : —

1. Sex.—The body was that of a woman from the presence of the uterus which
contained a fibroid tumour.

2.   Stature.—After making due allowances for missing bones and tissues the height
was measured as 5 ft. J in.    By using Pearson's formulae and Reliefs tables the height
was also estimated to be 5 ft. J in. from the entire humerus of the left side, which was
available.

3.   Age.—An   X-Ray   examination  of  certain  bones  showed  that  the   bones  were
those of an adult and probably middle-aged.    The age was further fixed at 40 to 50 by
study of the fusion between the plates of the vault of the skull and the palate.   There
was complete fusion between the brow plates, fusion was in progress between the top
plates and fusion was lacking between these two groups.   The sutures of the palate had
also not united.    A number of well preserved hairs on a  minute   fragment  of scalp
which lay crushed on to the back of the head showed that the colour was dark brown,
going grey.

4.   Cause of Death.—Strangulation  (throttling)  was found to be the cause of death
from the presence of some deep  crimson blood  clot extravasated between the  tissues
surrounding the upper horn of the right wing of the voice box and a fracture of the
horn of that wing of the thyroid cartilage under this clot.   The horn was forced inwards
towards the windpipe.    There was also a bruise to the back of the head, which might
have been caused by the head being dashed against the ground while the throat was
gripped or might have followed upon a fall backwards to the ground.

It was further established from the dental record cards of the treatment of the
teeth in the upper jaw kept by the dental surgeon, from superimposed photographs of
the available skull and the original portrait and from the fibroid tumour of the uterus
that the remains were those of one Mrs. Rachel Dobkin, who was 5 ft. 1 in. in height,
and was 47 years old with dark brown hair going grey. She went out to meet her
husband, Harry Dobkin, on September 11, 1941, and was never seen alive after that
date. The husband on whose premises the body was discovered fifteen months after
burial was charged with murder, was found guilty and was sentenced to death.13

The Acid-Bath Murder.—In the early afternoon of February 18, 1949, one John
George Haigh went with Mrs. Olive Durand-Deacon, a well-to-do widow to Crawley
in his car from the Onslow Court Hotel in Kensington. On reaching there he took her
into a store-shed at Leopold Road and shot her through the back of the head while she
was looking at some plastic. He removed her Persian lamb coat and jewellery, and
then put her fully clothed into a 45 gallon steel tank, info which he transferred strong
sulphuric acid by means of a stirrup pump from a carboy. Three days later he found
some fat and bone floating in sludge in the tank. This he removed in a bucket which he
emptied on ground opposite the shed entrance, and then pumped some more acid into the
tank to dispose of any remaining tissues. On the next day, finding that decomposition had

12.   For full details see John Glaister and James Couper Brash, Medico-Legal Aspects
of tlie Ruxton Case, 1937.

13.   Rex v. Dobkin, Med.~Leg. and Criminal. Rev., Vol. XI, Part m, 1943, p. 132.